Monday, November 11, 2013

Book Tour: Both Sides by Paul E. Stawski

Imagine if you were in a tragic accident – unable to move or speak but otherwise cognizant of everything around you. Imagine hearing doctors deciding your fate without you having a voice in the outcome.

Alex is a 16-year-old girl who finds herself in that exact situation in Both Sides, a novel that begins when – while on a class field trip – Alex and another girl, Sandra, end up in a horrible accident.

If the doctors act quickly, they may be able to save one body…and one brain. Amid the confusion and uncertainty, we hear everything that’s going on in Alex’s mind – from her initial disbelief to her quips about the absurdity of it all to her realization that she may have to go through the rest of her life living in the body of a girl she couldn’t stand. If she survives.

Both Sides tackles these issues and more. Within its pages every reader will find her own answers and discover, in the end, a story of courage and a girl who never before existed.

Award-winning author Paul E. Stawski captures the minute-by-minute struggles of a 16-year-old girl whose world is suddenly turned upside down in Both Sides. Radical brain surgery is the only option. Time is running out and Alex’s mind is racing: will she still be the same person when she comes out on the other side?

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My Review:

I don't even know how to begin to describe this book. Words escape me. I just want to say Wow! This book grabbed a hold of me and pulled me in. I didn't want to put it down. It depressed me and made me tense and uncomfortable and I absolutely loved it. This is one of those books that almost forces you to imagine yourself in the character's place. It is a hard thing for an author to pull off sometimes. Paul absolutely succeeded at this. I felt almost as emotional as if I was going through it.

Just try to imagine being trapped in your own mind. Being in a coma and not being able to respond to your family, to the nurses, to your best friend. Then suddenly you are yanked out of your own body, put into someone else's, and asked to deal with it. That is what this book is about. Alex and Sandra are in an accident. One of the girls ends up brain dead, while the other one's body is so damaged that she won't make it. So then comes the doctor with the plan to transplant the brain of one into the body of the other.

I really didn't like the doctor much. He is sneaky and underhanded. He is the character that you want to hate. Of course, he does succeed at what he wanted to do, which was to transplant the brain. All of the characters are wonderfully written. I think that the author conveys their personalities and their emotions very clearly, which seemed like it would be difficult to do seeing that the book is written in the girl's prospective while she is trapped in her mind, and while dealing with the transplant.

I don't want to go into too much detail. This is one book I really would recommend to just about any reader out there and I don't want to spoil it for anyone. Suffice it to say, this book is emotional and almost difficult to read, but in a good way. I cannot imagine going through something like this, yet at the same time I kind of can imagine it almost too clearly. Alex shows great strength and determination and I cannot wait to read the next book in the series.

This book contains a little bit of language, but it really isn't too bad. I would let my 10 year old daughter read it if she wanted to. It is such a good book that I would overlook a little language just so she could experience it. It isn't anything worse than she hears on television or from her friends everyday. My 18 year old son is next in line to read this book and I think he is going to enjoy it just as much as I did.

 The story is a little intense, so I wouldn't suggest anyone under my daughter's age read it. I am sure that many moms of children my daughter's age would be shaking their heads at me right now. My daughter is pretty mature for her age, so that helps. Plus she is willing to talk out a book with me to be sure she understands everything that she read.

Ok enough of my rambling on. I usually end with an I recommend section, but I already said that part earlier. So I will end with: you need to go out and get this book. It is such a good read!

About the Author
Paul E. Stawski won the Highlights for Children fiction contest for his short story, Code Red, a science-fiction story about a little girl who has to make a very grown-up decision. As a child, Paul was the subject of Newbery-Award winning author Lois Lenski's We Live in the North. Then, as an adult, he taught at an all-girls' high school before becoming a full-time writer. Both Sides is his first novel, he is currently writing the second book in the Both Sides series, Taking Sides due to be released January 2014. He lives in Troy, Michigan, with his wife and two cats.

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Taking Sides is the second book in the Both Sides series. In BOTH SIDES, Alex grappled with the idea of her brain being transplanted into Sandra’s brain-dead body. In TAKING SIDES, she struggles with her new reality, starting with the ride home from the hospital and the ensuing media circus. She’s now a celebrity who literally comes face-to-face with her new identity every time she looks in the mirror – and every time someone else looks at her. How will her friends react? How will Sandra’s? And what about their classmates and their parents? With everyone taking sides, Alex begins to wonder: is anyone on her side?

Tour Dates


I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.


  1. What a great in depth review, thanks so much for sharing x

  2. So glad you "absolutely loved" BOTH SIDES! Thanks for the great review!


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